Scott Bloomquist took the high line at times during the Dirt Late Model Dream at Eldora Speedway on Saturday night.
After the race, he took the high road.
Bloomquist – who received the loudest boos that were matched by the most vocal cheers during driver introductions – has a bumpy recent past on Eldora’s half-mile, high-banked oval.
In 2015 he won the $100,000 Dream only to come up 25 pounds light of the required 2,300 minimum on the post-race scales. He was shuffled to last place and settled for $2,000.
Last season, after failing to make the Dream field, Bloomquist’s tires failed a post-race test by an independent lab when rubber samples did not meet established benchmarks in a chemical analysis. He and four other drivers were suspended from DIRTcar sanctioned events, which included Eldora’s prestigious World 100 last September.
His return to Eldora for the Dream was victorious. But it wasn’t vindictive.
“A little bit of – not revenge – but sweet satisfaction to be able to come back,” the Tennessee driver said of his naysayers.
“This place is the place you want to (win). The crowd. The competition. The race track. There’s very few race tracks like this. Knoxville, Iowa, we love racing there. Other than that race track this is it.”
On Saturday, Bloomquist was in a class by himself, too. He took the lead from Georgia’s Brandon Overton after 55 laps and was seldom challenged the final 45 laps.
Bloomquist’s lead stretched to half the track with 15 laps to go and led by 7.4 seconds with eight remaining. He won the Dream title – his record-extending seventh victory – by 4.5 seconds.
Illinois’ Brandon Sheppard finished second, Overton was third, New York’s Tim McCreadie fourth and South Carolina’s Chris Madden fifth.
After his win Bloomquist had a little fun with the crowd. He slowly pulled on the post-race scales, which kept flashing the red light showing his late model was underweight. As part of the crowd cheered he pulled fully onto the scales to get the green light and the win.
“We just wanted to sit there and make everybody think about it. I had no doubt,” Bloomquist said, grinning.
Bloomquist and his crew figured they were 20 pounds over the minimum weight prior to the race. He told them to add another 40 pounds for insurance.
Being able to focus on late models instead of lawsuits was a relief for Bloomquist. He and the other suspended drivers dropped a lawsuit in October. Bloomquist said he’s still confident the lab made a mistake. But going ahead with the lawsuit would have been one, too.
“That’s not anything anyone really wanted to be part of,” he said. “It was just so frustrating to go through that and know where you stood – right or wrong. It was really going to be such a downer for fans, a downer for myself. I’ve got way better things to do than go to court. It wasn’t about the money. It was more about trying to prove people make mistakes. We thought about it and it wouldn’t have been right if we wouldn’t have come here. I’m not saying I don’t have a lot of years left, but I’m definitely in my winter years and not my summer years. We want to be a part of this place and all the major events.
“It’s always been one of my favorite places to race ever since I came here in ‘88. It’s such a beautiful race track. You can race all over it from the inside wall to the outside wall. I can’t say enough for these guys and how they prep the race track. There are a few little bumps here and there but they just give the track character.”
Bloomquist started seventh in the 28-car field. He dropped to eighth after the opening lap before wheeling the No. 0 to the front. He worked up to second after 13 laps and never dropped out of the top three again. A field of 79 late models checked in at Eldora for the three-day show that started Thursday.
“It’s awesome to win here,” Bloomquist said. “We have a lot of fans and a lot of naysayers but that’s what makes it all go around.”